In a strongly worded defense of the healthcare law, President Barack Obama accused congressional Republicans who favor defunding Obamacare of a willingness for “hurting” sick people, “harming” the economy and “sticking it to” Americans.
The president’s stirring defense comes after several delays to the law were announced, including this week, a delay in caps on out-of-pocket costs. He said some members of Congress are working to inform constituents about taking care of Obamacare benefits, others aren’t.
“But there’s also a group of Republicans in Congress working hard to confuse people, and making empty promises that they’ll either shut down the health care law, or, if they don’t get their way, they’ll shut down the government,” Obama said Saturday during his weekly address.
Watch President Obama's strongly worded defense of the new healthcare law:
“Think about that. They’re actually having a debate between hurting Americans who will no longer be denied affordable care just because they’ve been sick – and harming the economy and millions of Americans in the process and many Republicans are more concerned with how badly this debate will hurt them politically than they are with how badly it’ll hurt the country,” he said.
He later added, “A lot of Republicans seem to believe that if they can gum up the works and make this law fail, they’ll somehow be sticking it to me. But they’d just be sticking it to you.”
This week, the administration delayed a portion of the law that limits how much people have to spend on their own health care that was supposed to begin in 2014. The cap on out-of-pocket costs – including copayments and deductibles, was not supposed to exceed $12,700 for a family. However, the Department of Health and Human Services delayed until 2015.
Last month, HHS delayed the employer mandate from 2014 to 2015. The individual mandate will still take effect. Also, the Office of Personal Management announced that member of Congress and their highest paid staff would be exempt from parts of the law.
Republicans are debating whether they are willing to risk a government shutdown in order to defund Obamacare. A poll released this past week found two-thirds would favor a congressional move to defund Obamacare.